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19

Apr

Highlights and Key Themes from the 2016 Microsoft Build Conference

The three day Microsoft Build Conference 2016 was held at the end of March in San Francisco at the impressive Moscone Center. Benjamin Fox and I were lucky enough to attend from Intergen and here is our impressions.

Build is an annual conference aimed at developers, showcasing the latest and greatest tech updates Microsoft are releasing into the industry. The biggest trend we saw was making the Windows platform the go to place for all developers, not just MS developers, by bringing out new tools and making it look a lot more attractive.

Build Conference 2016 highlights

Here are a just few of the main announcements from this year's conference

HoloLens for developers – Microsoft announced they would be shipping the HoloLens to developers and enterprise partners which is a huge milestone for the team. Partners are doing some amazing things already in the augmented reality space and this will only encourage more amazing software being produced using the device. We were given a demo where university students used the HoloLens to explore the anatomy of a human 3D model. Not only were the students able to use the technology to give them a better understanding of their given subject, the lecturer was able to connect to the session remotely and guide them with learning. This is only one practical example of this technology, we expect to also see a lot of movement in the gaming arena with developers using the HoloLens as a platform for producing next level 3D games.

Bot Framework – Developers will now have the opportunity to leverage cognitive services from Microsoft’s new Bot Framework. Intelligent Bots allow you to connect to your users naturally wherever they are across a broad range of applications such as Skype and Office 365 Mail. The Bot Builder SDK will provide the ability to create apps over multiple services that will become more intelligent over time using machine learning. In addition, there is a Bot Directory in which you can get started from templates to really get a feel for how this framework can enhance your new or existing applications. We were shown a real world example of this technology in action where the Bot Framework allowed Domino’s Pizza to take orders directly from their bot, providing a new avenue for consumers to purchase the company’s food products.

Windows Ink – It is estimated that around 70% of people spend one hour or more using a pen, Microsoft have envisioned a way of incorporating this usage into the Windows platform. Ink will be integrated with apps such as Maps and Office, so not only will it be a method of writing down your ideas, it will intelligently via Cortana understand what you are writing and perform useful tasks such as creating appointments if it recognised a date. Windows Ink will give users a new way of interacting with their computer, not only will it keep all your notes and ideas safe, it will increase productivity with Microsoft’s ever expanding intelligence services. You will be able to experience Windows Ink yourself in the free Windows 10 Anniversary Update later this year.

Xamarin – Microsoft recently acquired the cross-platform development platform, Xamarin. With the future of product uncertain, we were excited to hear that Microsoft will be including Xamarin in all versions of Visual Studio, for free. This is huge for mobile developers, as the software gives the ability to compile one C# codebase across multiple mobile platforms including Android and iOS. This will give developers more time to focus on features than the tedious task of managing codebases across multiple languages. An exciting addition to the already feature packed Visual Studio IDE.

Bash shell is coming to Windows – Yes, you heard that right, the Linux command line will be running natively within the Windows 10 environment. This announcement is exciting as it reinforces Microsoft’s new stance on open source development and allows people in the Linux community to feel more at home with using Windows as their development platform. Microsoft’s new partnership with Canonical will give the ability to provide flexibility and convenience to developers who prefer to use a diverse set of tools.

We came away from the Build Conference excited about the future with Microsoft and excited to see how Intergen can embrace and grow with these new advancements.

If you didn’t make it along to this year’s conference, or if you still have questions about these updates, we’d love to chat with you.

Posted by: Jamie Wilbraham , Modern Applications Developer | 19 April 2016

Tags: Windows, Build, Bash shell, HoloLens, Xamarin


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